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11 Dec 2007 : Column 425Wcontinued
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions she has had with the Home Secretary on the efficiency of security procedures at Heathrow; and what discussions she has had with BAA on reducing security queuing times at Heathrow. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: My right hon. Friend has regular discussions with the Home Secretary, Home Office Ministers and companies in the aviation sector on a range of issues of mutual interest, including airport security. We recently published Improving the Air Passenger Experience which explains what the end-to-end journey experience looks like for passengers using Heathrow and sets out what improvements are already under way.
Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the effects on safety of changing the protected manual railway gate at Frinton-on-Sea railway crossing to a gate controlled remotely and monitored by closed circuit television. 
Mr. Tom Harris: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 13 November 2007, Official Report, column 92W.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what work her Department is undertaking on the possibility of re-opening the Lewes to Uckfield rail link. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The Department is not currently undertaking any work on the possibility of re-opening the Lewes to Uckfield railway. Local stakeholders are sponsoring a study into the re-opening which we expect to be completed in 2008.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether she continues to support the European Commission target of reducing average emissions from new cars sold in the EU to 130g/km by 2012. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: We want to see challenging but achievable new car CO2 targets. Ambitious mandatory targets are the best way to send strong signals to manufacturers to make major investments in new technology confidently. We therefore welcome the ambition shown by the Commission in suggesting a target of 130 g/km by 2012 but we also recognise, as the European Parliament recently has, that this would be extremely challenging given the length of lead times in the automotive sector.
We also believe that continued improvement is best achieved by setting a framework for the longer term. We are pressing for a second ambitious EU target, of 100g/km by 2020, or no later than 2025.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Government plans to widen the Newcastle A1 western bypass; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The Highways Agency is currently investigating options for widening the A1 Newcastle western bypass. This work will help to inform a decision in due course on whether to take forward a widening scheme. The Highways Agency is also holding discussions with the developers of Newcastle Great Park regarding a planning condition attached to this development which requires them to widen the section of the A1 between the A696 and North Brunton junctions once they have reached a particular level of development on the site.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what work her Department is undertaking on (a) the possible re-opening of the York to Beverley rail link and (b) in relation to the section of new track needed to create a Cambridge to Oxford rail link. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The Department is not undertaking any work on the possible re-opening of the York to Beverley rail link or the Cambridge to Oxford rail link.
East Riding of Yorkshire council has undertaken some work on the former and the East-West Rail Consortium has commissioned a detailed study into the Cambridge to Oxford rail link which should be completed shortly. The Department is in discussion with the Consortium.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many passports returned by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority have been delivered by (a) standard mail and (b) recorded delivery in the last 12 months. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The information is not held in the form requested.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether upgrading London Bridge station is included in the £150 million allocated by Delivering a Sustainable Railway White Paper to station improvements. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The upgrading of London Bridge station is part of the £5.5 billion Thameslink programme which was fully authorised in July 2007.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the budget is for the upgrade of Reading station, as proposed in Delivering a Sustainable Railway, broken down by subheading; and when she expects work to (a) start and (b) finish on the upgrade. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The amount currently allocated for improvements at Reading station is some £425 million. The majority of this is for construction-related work but upwards of £70 million may be required for design and the necessary planning approvals. Work has already started on the design aspects and final completion of the project is planned for spring 2015.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will place in the Library a copy of the contracts which have been let for work on the upgrade of Reading station, as set out in Delivering a Sustainable Railway. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The work to enlarge Reading station is led by Network Rail, and contracts are a matter for them.
However, the company is required to improve capacity and performance, within agreed timescales and resources.
Network Rail can be contacted at:
40 Melton street
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much her Department has spent on (a) consultants and (b) other costs relating to the Inter-city Express programme. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The Department has committed a total of £6.7 million since late 2005 relating to the Inter-City Express programme, all of which was on consultants.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment her Department has made of the recent increases in unregulated rail fares. 
Mr. Tom Harris: In the absence of specific grounds for doing so, the Department has made no formal assessment of the recent increases in unregulated fares. However, we keep unregulated fares under review. The Department continues to listen to the representations of Passenger Focus and has invited them to take a greater role in commenting on the specification of future franchises.
Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether she plans to increase consumer protection in relation to unregulated rail fares. 
Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 10 December 2007]: There are currently no plans to increase consumer protection in relation to unregulated rail fares.
The setting of unregulated rail fares is a commercial decision for each train operating company. It is in their interests to provide an attractive range of fares and to encourage more passengers to use the railway.
The Department continues to listen to the representations of Passenger Focus and has invited them to take a greater role in commenting on the specification of future franchises.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what premium was received by her Department from each rail franchise in the last year for which figures are available; 
(2) what subsidy was provided to each rail franchise in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Tom Harris: Details of subsidies and premiums received from, and paid by franchised train operating companies are available in National Rail Trends, which is published by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR). Copies are available in the Library of the House and on the ORR website at:
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport of which disused rail lines her Department authorised the sale in each of the last 10 years; and which disused rail lines her Department is considering re-opening. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The disposal of non operational property owned by BRB (Residuary) Ltd. (BRBR) is governed by guidance issued to the company on 26 July 2007 which I outlined in my statement to Parliament on that date. A listing of all properties, including disused railway lines that are either held by BRBR or have been sold by the company is available on their website at:
The disposal of railway property owned by Network Rail is undertaken in accordance with the conditions of their network license. Compliance with these conditions are monitored and enforced by the Office of Rail Regulation.
The Government priorities for rail as set out in the White Paper in July are improved reliability and safety and dealing with growth on the existing network. This does not envisage reopening lines in the period to March 2014. However, the Government would consider proposals for re-opening where these offer value for money and are fundableit is for local promoters to make a case.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on which railway lines services will not be running on Boxing Day. 
Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 10 December 2007]: Full details of amended services over the Christmas period are available at
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what schemes her Department is considering to improve rail links to the port of Southampton. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The Department announced on 29 October 2007, Official Report, column 28WS, £44 million of funding through the productivity element of the Transport Innovation Fund towards rail gauge enhancement from the port of Southampton to the West Coast Main Line. The enhancement, when completed, will enable 9' 6" high containers to be conveyed on standard wagons on the route.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will seek the views of passengers who travel in Desiro Class 450 Units, on mainline services between Portsmouth and London on passenger comfort. 
Mr. Tom Harris: Stagecoach South Western Trains (SSWT) has carried out an ergonomic study on the Class 450s based on customer (specifically Portsmouth passengers) feedback. The findings of this report have been independently reviewed by Passenger Focus, the passenger representation body and have been made public by SSWT on their website.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the percentage of the Government's renewable transport fuels obligation which will come from (a) imports and (b) sustainable sources in 2010. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 5 December 2007, Official Report, column 1233W.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment she has made on the effect on the quality of life in rural communities of standards of roads and levels of road usage; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 10 December 2007]: Local highways in England are the responsibility of local highways authorities, and it is generally for them to determine standards of service and priorities. The Department's Guidance on Local Transport Plans (LTPs) for the period 2006 to 2011 indicated that in preparing their plans local authorities should consider how they could improve quality of life in their communities, including in rural areas. Authorities have been asked to assess progress in implementing their plans during 2008-09.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) deaths and (b) serious injuries were sustained by people aged (i) under 16, (ii) between 16 and 24, (iii) between 25 and 65 and (iv) over 65 years as a result of road traffic accidents in the West Midlands in each of the last five years. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The number of casualties (a) killed and (b) seriously injured, who were (i) under 16, (ii) between 16 and 24, (iii) between 25 and 65 and (iv) over 65 years, resulting from reported personal injury road accidents in the West Midlands Government office region in each of the last five years is shown in the table.
|Number of casualties|
|Under 16||16-24||25-64||65+||Total( 1)||Under 16||16-24||25-64||65+||Total( 1)|
|(1) Includes cases where age was not given.|
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